On Friday 13th April I had a fantastic time with friends, family, readers and awesome buddies from the Melbourne bookish community to launch my debut novel, the YA psychological thriller, SMALL SPACES.
It’s taken me a month to write this post because, during the last few weeks, my terminally-ill dad’s condition worsened to the point that he passed away on the 25th April. I’d spent most of March and April travelling back and forth to Sydney to spend time with Dad after he received his grim prognosis, and incredibly, Dad’s rapid decline stabilised long enough for me to return to Melbourne to launch my book before I received a phone call from family a few days later urging me to return quickly to Dad’s bedside in Sydney. I made it in time to spend four final days with him alongside my mum, sister and brother, and my sister and I were by Dad’s side as he took his final breaths on Anzac Day. The time between Dad’s cancer diagnosis to his death was a mere seven weeks. Everything moved so fast.
Emotionally, it’s been a very confusing and exhausting time. I find myself grappling with guilt over feeling happy about my debut novel when I’m so desperately sad about losing my dad. When people compliment me about my book I get teary at their kindness, and when I receive good news about SMALL SPACES from my publisher, my excitement is dulled by grief.
But family and friends have reminded me how proud my dad would be to see me achieving my dreams after so much hard work, and how he’d encourage me to enjoy every moment of this journey. Before we all understood the extent of Dad’s illness and how quickly things would change, he was planning a trip down to Melbourne to attend my book launch with my mum and sister to help me celebrate. As I mentioned in a speech at his funeral, Dad was always reaching for the things he loved in life with both hands and a full heart, and he’d want us all to go on and do the same.
So I am proud to show off photos of the wonderfully happy event that was my debut novel’s book launch. It was such a great turn out (thank you, friends) and everything flowed perfectly. The staff at Readings St Kilda were fabulous to work with and so accommodating – I can’t thank them enough for providing such a wonderful space and for facilitating everything, from microphones to drinks catering to keeping us on schedule on the night. It’s an absolutely gorgeous book store with a huge range and helpful staff – I highly recommend a visit.
The proceedings kicked off with an introduction by my editor from Walker Books Australia, Nicola Santilli, who travelled all the way from Sydney for the launch. I can’t thank Nicola enough for her constant support and the way she’s championed this novel from the very start. As Nicola’s first acquisition, SMALL SPACES is very much her baby as well as mine, so it was lovely she was able to come down and help me officially launch it into the world. Huge thanks also to the whole Walker Books family for their enthusiasm and hard work in bringing my debut novel into the world. I feel really fortunate to have such a fabulous publishing house backing me and wanting this book to succeed as much as I do.
I was so very lucky and grateful that YA author Fleur Ferris agreed to drive all the way down to Melbourne from her home in country NSW to help me launch SMALL SPACES. I have long been a fan of Fleur’s gripping YA novels, and we started chatting privately on Twitter many years ago just as her first novel RISK was being released into the world. Fleur’s always been so kind and encouraging to me, and watching her publishing journey is a huge inspiration for my own. When I found out Fleur was providing a blurb for the front cover of my debut novel, I was honoured and grinning from ear to ear. I couldn’t think of anyone more perfect to help me launch SMALL SPACES and have a little Q&A session with on the night. So thrilled when Fleur agreed to do it!
After my in-conversation chat with Fleur, it was over to the book signing table. This was such a great opportunity to thank each person individually for coming, and also gave me a chance to say hello to everyone and pose for some pics.
Huge thanks to everyone who came along and supported me. You helped create a fun and buzzing atmosphere on the night and the book launch was, by all accounts, a big success.